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6 reasons to visit Florence, Italy

Oct. 18, 2020
5 min read
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The Italian city of Florence is a picturesque spot that's hailed as being the birthplace of the Renaissance. With an entire historic city center deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site -- not to mention a metropolis filled with quaint and romantic hidden spots just waiting to be discovered -- this Tuscan paradise is a prime travel destination.

Here are six reasons why you should plan a trip to one of our favorite cities in the world.

1. The river

Strolling along the river in many cities is a lovely experience, but the riverfront in Florence has an ethereal quality to it, setting the vibe for the entire city -- you might say the Arno River breathes life into Florence. The bridges are gorgeous day or night, and somehow the sunlight never hits them in just the same way, so crossing at different hours always makes for unique photos.

The Ponte Vecchio is the most popular bridge, but the real fun lies along with the other, less touristy bridges. Be like the locals and bring a bottle of wine and some snacks after dark to sit on the Ponte alle Grazie with your friends and take in the scene or order an Aperol Spritz at the bar on the corner and enjoy the view. For a quieter walk, wander across the Ponte Santa Trinita or the Ponte alla Carraia.

Read more: The best destinations to visit from Milan, Italy

(Photo by Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images)

2. The art, history and architecture

Florence is heaven for art and history buffs, thanks to the Uffizi Gallery, which hosts some of the most spectacular art from the Italian Renaissance. Michelangelo's Statue of David (at the nearby Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze) and the Duomo Cathedral, with its famous dome by Brunelleschi, are must-sees, but the whole city is truly a work of art so you don't even have to set foot in a museum or gallery to soak up the glory.

Those who love charming details will fall in the love with the cobblestone streets, intricately designed fountains, statues on every corner and rickety thatched rooftops and the colorful shutters of local homes.

The Duomo looms over Florence.(Photo by Alan Brutenic / EyeEm/Getty Images)

3. The shopping

While Florence isn't the fashion-forward haven of Milan, look past the crowds see that the city is still filled with enough style to make even the most devout fashionista envious. The Italians stand out like sore thumbs among the tourist masses thanks to their deeply ingrained sense of style and reluctance to leave the house in activewear.

The city is home to every possible high-end designer shop that exists as well as museums dedicated to Gucci and Ferragamo. If you're looking for more affordable boutiques, spots like Sofi and Floreiza offer stylish finds. The city is also home to high-quality and affordable leather products, so check out boutiques like Massimo's Leather or the San Lorenzo Market for great finds -- and bring your haggling skills with you.

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(Photo by Buena Vista Images/Getty Images)

Read more: How to have a budget vacation in Italy

4. The food

Tucked into the hills, Florence is in the middle of the Chianti wine region, meaning you can drink cheap and delicious varieties of wine all over the city, or take a day trip for wine tastings at local vineyards.

The food is incredible and aside from typical Italian fare like pizza, pasta and gelato, Tuscan regional favorites include wild-boar pasta, tripe and bilberry steak, a perfectly cooked filet mignon soaked in warm bilberry sauce (bilberries are almost identical to blueberries).

Delicious cuisine abounds in Florence. (Photo by Rafa Elias/Getty Images)

5. The Tuscan countryside

Visiting small villages in the rolling hills of Tuscany is a perfect day trip. Medieval towns like Lucca and Siena are within easy reach, as are larger cities like Pisa and Genoa -- even Bologna is only about 90-minutes from Florence. If you don't want to rent a car, there are several organized tours that can get you out of the city for a day or two or you can always hop on the trains, which are especially easy to use in Italy and a fun way to get some great views.

(Photo by Francesco Riccardo Iacomino/Getty Images)

Read more: 7 beautiful Italian destinations for an autumn vacation

6. The festivals

While Florence is gorgeous all year long, the city offers wonderful festivals throughout a typical year that can be amazing cultural experiences. Some of the most popular are Carnevale in February, the Gelato Festival in April, the Pitti Immagine fashion fairs (various dates) and the Festa della Rificolona (paper lantern festival) in September. June is considered to be Florence's golden month, with a number of patron saint days as well as music and dance festivals.

Gelato in Florence. (Photo by FilippoBacci/ Getty)

Bottom line

Florence has a lot to offer and being in Tuscany -- the food and wine are incredible. So from shopping to gorging to beautiful vistas, what's not to love?

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Recommended Credit

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees